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Advocating for a Better Data Ecosystem | Jobs for the Future

June 27, 2023
  • D.C. Policy Center

On April 26, 2023, the D.C. Policy Center’s work was cited by Jobs for the Future:

Defining the why. CityWorks DC partnered with the D.C. Policy Center to publish their first brief, The Case for Creating a Local Talent Pipeline in the District of Columbia. The brief shifts the narrative away from anecdote and toward data. Bibo said it has served two purposes: “First, it called out that we have this robust economy but that too many DC residents are not benefiting from this economic development.” The brief also used quantitative data to argue that hiring local talent is more affordable and more efficient than hiring from elsewhere. “We wanted to show that hiring local talent is good business and that the numbers prove it,” Bibo said.

Proving the need. In its second collaboration with the D.C. Policy Center, CityWorks DC published D.C. High School Alumni Reflections on Their Early Career Outcomes, a brief based on a survey of 1,200 public school alumni that was conducted in partnership with CityBridge Education and Bain & Company. The results showed that work-based learning opportunities for high school students enable them to build career assets—the set of tools, skills, experiences, and competencies that an individual has acquired or has access to that help them successfully navigate the workforce. The analysis showed statistically significant positive correlations between career assets and employment and earnings for alumni who had earned a bachelor’s degree and those who had not. It also showed that alumni’s career assets are positively associated with their feelings of fulfillment from their work, financial stability, and optimism about their future. These findings proved to be extremely valuable to leadership across the district—and showed why the education system would benefit from having consistent access to this type of data.

Offering solutions. The third brief CityWorks DC produced in collaboration with the D.C. Policy Center, Measuring Early Career Outcomes in D.C., outlines next steps for a data strategy for the city. The district systematically collects considerable amounts of data on students while they are in school, but only some schools have the capacity to follow alumni after they graduate from high school or complete postsecondary education. Existing information on income or employment is rare and mostly anecdotal. The brief highlights how other jurisdictions collect and analyze this type of data, which often involves designing P-20 (preschool through college) and P-20W (education-to-work) data systems by making better linkages between existing administrative data sets, connecting state-level data to national data, or conducting periodic surveys.

Convening leaders. To advance the recommendations in the Measuring Early Career Outcomes in D.C. brief, CityWorks DC and the D.C. Policy Center brought together leaders from the district and from jurisdictions with exemplary P-20W data systems to learn about how those systems have affected states’ investments and resident outcomes. CityWorks DC also connected district leaders with national P-20W system experts to begin developing a tailored P-20W data system plan informed by best practices in technology and governance. “It was important for the district leaders to lead the design and early decision-making process, to understand how this system could advance our collective goals, and to take ownership of moving the project forward,” Bibo said.

All of this hard work recently paid off for the partners and the district’s youth: The budget proposed for Fiscal Year 2024 by District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser includes a $1.6 million investment to establish an education-to-work data system. (The budget is now awaiting approval from the DC Council.) “We are so proud that the research and data analyses we’ve led have culminated in this significant step toward action,” Bibo said.

Read more: Advocating for a Better Data Ecosystem | Jobs for the Future


D.C. Policy Center

Established in 2016, the D.C. Policy Center is a non-partisan research and policy organization committed to advancing policies for a strong and vibrant economy in the District of Columbia. Through rigorous research and collaboration, the D.C. Policy Center develops and tests policy ideas, disseminates its findings, and engages in constructive dialogue and debate.

For more information, please see our About page.